How Berkeley Introduced Magic into Mainstream Science

“Rationality by itself does not solve any problems or answer any questions. Its efficaciousness depends on how we combine it with our drives, goals, and desires–and perhaps our less-linear-algorithm-based intuitions. This synthesis of the rational and a-rational occurs at the individual level of a person figuring out a problem or making a decision. It also is in play (at issue) when a larger social group or society debates, plans, …and votes”.

(From Berkeley’s Sense, Sensibility and Science course starting spring 2016)

The greatest scientists of all times have based their scientific theories on much more than rational thinking. Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Carl Gustav Jung, Johannes Kepler have started the road to the truth with prodigious desires ruled by internal stimuli. We do not know much about their other, less popular work. They have used methods and experimented with fields which are still held dubious by the mainstream modern science. Modern medicine and mathematics are based on astrology, alchemy and magic. Practical scientific solutions have often lost in life by the intuitive power of the word in prayer.

Yet, it has been a while that “a-rational” methods are being pushed into the background and ridiculed by sensible intellectuals as “devolutionary”. To release the abuse of power and the dogma in medieval religious institutions science has itself become dogmatic. Self-critique disappeared and scientists have made themselves the new priests. It seems like there is no other fundamental truth in life, but that of science.

The integrated truth, however, is making its own way. It is a universal law that can’t be kept under wraps for long.

Humans are both rational and irrational. Freethought emerges. The heart and the mind work best when together. Berkeley’s Big Ideas Courses program for spring 2016 is both curious and exciting. It has the punch to change the way science loses by separation from humanities. The syllabus has courses such as Magic, Religion and Science; Time; and Sense, Sensibility and Science.

The content of the spring courses is a baby born at student-teacher interactive creation meetings. Participants at these meeting talk with vigor about the importance of such meetings. “…You can’t think on your own. Thinking is something that happens in dialogue.” – says Hannah Ginsborg, a professor of philosophy at Berkeley, when discussing Music and Meaning at one of these collaborations.

There is much that we do not get in the world and in life. We must do more. The potency of science and research is in the hunger and thirst for gut knowledge and not in strict rational theoretical laws. The human empathic component of science which is to improve our lives and make the world a better place is getting its righteous karma debt paid.

Photo credit: Epsos via Foter 

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